Research Methodology Essay

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“The study of man contains a greater variety of intellectual styles than any other area of cultural endeavor. How different social scientists go about their work, and what they aim t accomplish by it, often do not seem to have a common denominator ... Let us admit the case of our critics from the humanities and from the experimental sciences: Social science as a whole is both intellectually and morally confused. And what is called sociology is very much in the middle of this confusion.” Wright Mills

Images of Man

The quest for knowledge has always been at the forefront of societies mind. What makes us tick as a society or an individual, what circumstances have to come about to lead to different phenomena to occur? Sociologists, psychologists, philosophers and social scientists have spent eons of time pondering on these questions. Research is the way in which these questions may be answered, but the question remains, as to what type of research leads us to the right answer or, if there is a right answer, what is the one true answer? If different research methods produce different answers, which is the right, the true answer and if we find it does this render all the other answers null or wrong? These are some of the questions that I will be asking in this paper through examining concepts such as the symbolic order in research, the role of emotions in research, the grouping together of different methodologies to create a clearer picture of the research and the importance of reflexivity during the research process. Keywords; emotions, symbolic order, reflexivity.

The word research originates from the late 16th century French word recerche, re (expressing intensive force) and cherchier to search. It means the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. In this essay I will be focusing on qualitive research methods, examining some of the problems that may be encountered when conducting social research and how these problems may be overcome and used to advantage. Qualitative research takes an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter; qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings that people bring to them. This process begins by understanding that there are a variety of ways of making sense of the world and therefore focuses on discovering the meanings that are seen by those who are being researched, to better understand their view of the world. The methodology used in research will vary in accordance with the research being conducted, this can be limiting if a type of methodology is decided on and rigidly adhered to throughout the research leaving no room for reconsideration or change of view.

Different Methodological Approaches.
The manner in which sociologists study society varies greatly between individual sociologists. There are many reasons for these varying views such as backgrounds, culture, family influences, religion and experiences with these experiences leading them to come to certain conclusions about certain situations. For this reason it is important not to rely on one type of sociological perspective which may constrict the researcher in the researching of certain phenomena. In research however objectively the reality of the social world was approached, its meaning was never self evident but always subject to interpretation with this interpretation being subject to the researchers biases formed out of the afore mentioned factors. Some of the different methods of researching or research style are Positivism which means scientific; positivists would argue that it is possible and desirable to study social behavior in ways similar to those used by natural scientists when studying the natural world. The interpretive approach to research has been gaining attention in recent years as an alternative to...
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